Definition of crystal in English:



  • 1A piece of a homogeneous solid substance having a natural geometrically regular form with symmetrically arranged plane faces.

    • ‘Cirrus cloud usually forms above 16,000 feet where the temperature is below freezing, and the resultant cloud consists of many millions of ice crystals.’
    • ‘Most plant cells rupture when jagged ice crystals form inside them, and if enough damage takes place, plants die.’
    • ‘It was still beautiful, brushed in white with ice crystals wrapping themselves around every branch and twig, but the vineyards and resorts I'd known were gone of course.’
    • ‘Natural crystals, by contrast, all bear repeating patterns like those commonly found in the tiling of a bathroom floor.’
    • ‘This month, NASA is conducting a field campaign in southern Florida to investigate high tropical cirrus clouds composed of tiny ice crystals.’
    • ‘But because of their fivefold symmetry, icosahedral clusters can't combine to form a regular crystal.’
    • ‘Most ices and sorbets require beating or whisking regularly as they freeze, to break up the ice crystals.’
    • ‘In fact, it is easy to spot the planes of large ice crystals when you bite into the lolly.’
    • ‘These were at first unsuccessful; the fruits were mushy when thawed, since they had been frozen too slowly so that large ice crystals formed which disrupted their delicate tissues.’
    • ‘But scientists have long known that the freezing process creates ice crystals, which destroy cells and cellular structures.’
    • ‘Where possible, flawed sections are removed and larger crystals cut into smaller pieces with minimal wastage by splitting the crystal along natural cleavage planes.’
    • ‘Depending on the plane of section, crystals may appear as triangles or other shapes in thin section.’
    • ‘Wiggling through fractured ice and snow crystals, they burrow as deep as three to six feet (one to two meters) beneath the surface of the ice.’
    1. 1.1Chemistry Any solid consisting of a symmetrical, ordered, three-dimensional aggregation of atoms or molecules.
      • ‘Scientists soon learned that they could use X-ray diffraction to learn how atoms and molecules were arranged in crystals.’
      • ‘If these photons are reflected back into the junction, by a cleavage plane in the crystal, for example, a standing wave can be established.’
      • ‘Thus, the crystals have cleavage planes for the necessary migration aptitude.’
      • ‘The cleavage planes between prismatic stibnite crystals have been infilled by sphalerite.’
      • ‘The pattern of diffracted rays and their intensity are determined from the arrangement of atoms and number of electrons on each atom in the crystal.’
    2. 1.2Electronics A crystalline piece of semiconductor used as an oscillator or transducer.
      • ‘More accurate clocks based on the regular vibrations of a quartz crystal superseded them.’
      • ‘This peak is then used to make the slight correction necessary to bring the crystal oscillator and hence the microwave field exactly on frequency.’
      • ‘The crystal oscillator is suitable for any fundamental mode crystals in the 5 to 30MHz range.’
      • ‘A crystal connected to an alternating voltage source will vibrate, generating an alternating voltage.’
      • ‘Because atoms in a semiconductor crystal are adjacent, their action on one another causes electrons to pass energy continuously.’
    3. 1.3 A clear transparent mineral, especially quartz.
      • ‘Many of these calcite crystals and crystal groups are partially or completely covered with an overgrowth of pyrite.’
      • ‘Certain crystals will split incoming light into two separate rays; Iceland spar is one such crystal, as are calcite and quartz.’
      • ‘Some are made of pure quartz crystal, but many are made of other types of stone found in abundance on Earth.’
      • ‘Simultaneously, large quartz crystal groups were formed on the ceiling and walls of the cavern.’
      • ‘Somewhat darker, but no less impressive, is a similarly large crystal of smoky quartz from the Ural Mountains.’
    4. 1.4 A piece of crystalline substance believed to have healing powers.
      • ‘New Age practices such as occultism, crystal power and astrology are examples of spiritual but not religious pursuits of enlightenment.’
      • ‘Starting from the top of the body, hold one crystal in front and one behind the back and gently work your way down.’
      • ‘Steward claims she would not have been able to compete in the marathon without the crystal to awaken her dormant mind power.’
      • ‘Smoky Quartz is a powerful healing crystal and a grounder of excess energy.’
      • ‘This opaque crystal is a powerful aura cleanser and can be used to clear sacred spaces.’
  • 2Highly transparent glass with a high refractive index.

    as modifier ‘a crystal chandelier’
    • ‘For instance, one room is completely walled in mirrors with huge crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.’
    • ‘The place was a mess; all the tables were either broken or burnt to cinders, crystal glass and china fragments littered the floor along with shattered cutlery and shredded table cloths.’
    • ‘‘There will be six pottery stalls, two selling stainless steel saucepans and one selling crystal glass,’ he said.’
    • ‘High-grade crystal glass has its own delicate sound.’
    • ‘The inside of the restaurant is splendid and elegant, decorated with green crystal glass screens dividing it into different dining areas with dazzling dragon wall sculptures.’
    • ‘Alexander shouted impatiently, banging his crystal glass of whisky down on the desk and spilling it slightly.’
    • ‘To wash it all down, we stuck with the house white - an Australian wine, which is drunk from some new exquisite long stem crystal glasses.’
    • ‘There will also be a show of local crafts including fretwork, crystal glass, embroidery, dancing costumes, placemats, potted plants, flowers, and taxidermy.’
    • ‘Expect the best crystal wine glasses, such as Schott or Riedel, in the correct shape for each wine, be it a Tempranillo or a Sauvignon Blanc.’
    • ‘But she remembered one dream in detail and knew it to be a dream: She was at a party in a mansion with large mirrored rooms and crystal chandeliers.’
    • ‘Cut glass crystal was the mainstay and it took the intervention of fashion designers into the glass industry to turn the thinking around.’
    • ‘There are over 40 varieties made from clay, marble, granite, brass, panchaloka, aluminium, papier-mâché rosewood, sandalwood, crystal glass etc.’
    • ‘Canoe camps range from fully catered varieties with luxury tents and crystal glass down to more basic operations where you put up your own mosquito net and join in with the cooking.’
    • ‘Goods valued at thousands of euro, including crystal glass, have been taken by shoplifters, believed to be from Cork and Waterford, from a number of stores.’
    • ‘The other terms that confuse many are the words crystal, cut crystal, or crystal glass.’
    • ‘Chorusing male red-ruffed fruit crows sound like breath blown across a bottle, followed by a finger spun along the wet rim of a crystal glass.’
    • ‘Whether it's made of glass or brass, cutglass crystal or ceramics, a vase is a thing of beauty, writes SURABHI KHOSLA.’
    • ‘Lifting up his glass of water, and noting the way the pure crystal glass glinted in the harsh light, he took a small sip from it.’
    • ‘Although the magical scenery filled with priceless glass and crystal furnishings was spectacular and worth a closer look, the two had no time to marvel at it.’
    1. 2.1 Articles made of crystal glass.
      ‘a collection of crystal’
      • ‘Many little crystal and silver figures were placed on the ledge.’
      • ‘I returned his smile, moving off to investigate a small glass case of crystal figurines sitting beside one of the cash registers.’
      • ‘I held my breath until he set the glass down on the counter envisioning what would happen to us if we broke a piece of Mother's crystal.’
      • ‘Tables seating two to 10 are set with fine linen, china, silver, and crystal.’
      • ‘Lace tablecloth, lace napkins, her mother's best china and Waterford crystal, and real silver silverware.’
      • ‘Take larger valuables such as the family crystal, silverware, and china, and pack them away.’
      • ‘The table is set as usual, with great attention to detail, with glimmering silver and shining crystal, but today I cannot find any delight in it.’
      • ‘I used the best china, crystal, and silver for the table.’
      • ‘The company is cutting jobs and closing plants to save money as demand ebbs for its china dinner services, glassware and crystal because consumers are spending less.’
      • ‘But the real highlight of the trip was dinner, served in the opulent dining cars by candlelight on linen, with crystal, flowers and silverware.’
      glassware, crystalware
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 The glass over a watch face.
      • ‘The cornea is the clear part of the eye much like a watch crystal.’
      • ‘Sapphire crystal is the cover of choice for premium watches.’
      • ‘The only description I can equate is when the watch crystal catches a beam of sun and dances around the walls/ceilings.’
  • 3informal

    short for crystal meth (methamphetamine)


  • Clear and transparent like crystal.

    ‘the clean crystal waters of the lake’
    • ‘Here crystal water, accompanied by brisk birds, carefree fish and ancient trees, flows through rocks, silent one moment and murmuring the next.’
    • ‘Those who demand crystal water on every dive best stay at home, but on the positive side, it is this occasional green soup that draws in the mantas and the other vast profusion of life.’
    • ‘This lives up to its name for a hundred yards where it runs with crystal spring water, then we get dry track, a meadow or two, and the final climb back, all the way under the intimidating command of the castle.’
    • ‘He peered into the pool of clear, crystal water.’
    • ‘Geese soared through air, and came to rest on the crystal water.’
    • ‘The crystal light of a clear winter morning, dramatic stormy skies and the golden warmth of an autumn day: all find a place in this splendid evocation of the Lake District.’
    • ‘Inside the thick envelope was a card showing a school of dolphins from above, surfacing through crystal water.’
    • ‘The water was crystal green, reflecting the green mountains along the river.’
    • ‘The pool is motionless and so clear it gives a magnified look to what is underneath the crystal sheet of water.’
    • ‘The crystal blue sea and clean blue sky over the horizon varied occasionally from sunrise to sunset.’
    • ‘More accurately, he found himself unable to hear anything above the intense rage that clouded his mind, or rather, cleaned it to crystal clarity.’
    • ‘It is a great place for little trout as they dart about in the crystal water and feed on the fat flies that unwittingly drop from the branches.’
    • ‘He looked at the water again, clear and crystal blue.’
    • ‘It was full of green slime and muck instead of crystal clean water.’
    • ‘For this is a beautiful city, surrounded by waters of crystal purity and with a myriad of historic buildings to boot.’
    • ‘But wading out into the crystal water, I had to remind myself that only 50m away was the largest accessible shipwreck in the world of recreational diving.’


  • crystal clear

    • 1Completely transparent and unclouded.

      • ‘The surface area of the lake now covers 570 square kilometres and its waters are crystal clear.’
      • ‘The waterfalls were crystal clear, while elegant pavilions stand under trees that drip with bright red flowers.’
      • ‘Although I visited in February, when snow was on the ground, most days were crystal clear, sunny and not overly cold.’
      • ‘The water is warm and crystal clear, and few visual experiences beat watching the last rays of the sun fingering the canyon walls.’
      • ‘The river is pale green and crystal clear, with brilliant orange stones on the bed in some parts, and we drank from it all the way along.’
      • ‘Where is the crystal clear, pure, unpolluted water that once characterized the river as well as most shallow wells in the area?’
      obvious, evident, plain, apparent, crystal clear, as clear as crystal, transparent
      transparent, limpid, pellucid, translucent, crystalline, crystal clear, glassy, glass-like
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Unambiguous; easily understood.
        ‘the house rules are crystal clear’
        • ‘The sound is also a fantastic element, crystal clear and always understandable.’
        • ‘The sound was crystal clear, the music was haunting and soothing.’
        • ‘It has also been made crystal clear by health authorities in the past that the blood which is donated undergoes a screening process.’
        • ‘However, what is crystal clear is that many of the residents do not want to have a nuclear waste disposal facility in their region.’
        • ‘As I say, he makes his political position crystal clear.’
        • ‘But we are quite plain in terms of our policy and Mark has made it absolutely crystal clear that that policy is not about to change.’
        • ‘This language of the plain and the crystal clear conceals the fact that we navigate in murky waters.’
        • ‘On Friday the European parliament made its position crystal clear.’
        • ‘My views on racism are crystal clear, so I assume there could be no question mark over my motivations.’
        • ‘Recent events have made it crystal clear that this region is all too easily ignored by the nation's power brokers.’
        unambiguous, unmistakable, indisputable, incontrovertible, indubitable, undeniable
        View synonyms


Late Old English (denoting ice or a mineral resembling it), from Old French cristal, from Latin crystallum, from Greek krustallos ‘ice, crystal’. The chemistry sense dates from the early 17th century.